Pushing the Boundaries of Glass Blowing

5 August 2017

The Anglesey 2017 National Eisteddfod Young Artist Scholarship was awarded to a Caernarfon maker to push the boundaries of glass blowing. 

In granting the £1,500 scholarship the selectors Ceri Jones, Jessica Hemmings and Carwyn Jones looked forward to following  Marged Elin Owain’s career.

“Here is an exciting young artist exploring tensions between ancient and modern with confidence and fluency,” said Ceri Jones of the 22 year old maker, recently graduated in 3D Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. “Her appreciation of the inherent qualities of her materials is evident and her conceptual exploration is insightful. It will be wonderful to revisit her work in a year’s time.”

According to Jessica Hemmings there is a material confidence to Marged Elin Owain’s work that belies her years. “Pairings of wood, glass and ceramic feel both organic and utterly contemporary,” she said of the young artist’s ‘Artefacts Collection’. “And her aesthetic strikes a refreshing balance between the use of traditional materials and techniques that result in forms which are no longer entirely familiar.”

Here’s a truly inspiring new voice and a whole heartedly and deserved scholarship winner, said Carwyn Evans. “Marged distils the essence of her own cultural experience – transforming it into visual references which build a new and vivid personal language. The resonances in this work speak loud and clear.”

As the artist collects objects to investigate the past and  present, family heirlooms such as her grandmother’s butter making implements and her great great grandfather’s slate carving tools are invaluable to her. A great deal of her recent work has been inspired by the slate carvings found in the Ogwen Valley.

“I use found and inherited objects as a starting point for my work, and reference them through experimenting and testing the boundaries in glass,” said Marged Elin Owain. “I often use the fluidity of the glass to inform the shape of my pieces, which I then evaluate and combine with other media.”

Following the National Eisteddfod Marged Elin Owain put the scholarship to use by attending a course at Pilchuck Glass School, near Seattle, USA, to experience the culture and traditions of American glass blowing. The institution, she says, is renowned for using more experimental techniques of working with the medium compared to European methods.

Marged Elin Owain was also awarded the Tony Goble Award of £500 for work by an artist exhibiting in the Open Exhibition for the first time.

For further information see Marged Elin Owain’s website https://www.margedowain.com/